Pros and Cons of Group Tours vs Solo Travel

Pros and Cons of Group Tours vs Solo Travel

April 22, 2021 8 By Kerry

Travel groups allow you to open up and connect with new people or friends, but is it for everyone? There are several pros and cons of group tours versus travelling solo, and this article will help you weigh the disadvantages of traveling in a group to make the best decision for your needs.

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What is a Group Package Tour and why should you consider it?

So first off, what is a group package tour? Simply put, this is an organised tour similar to a package holiday with additional extras such as transport and experiences bundled into the mix. These tours are designed for like-minded travelers who share similar interests in exploring a country or location. The package typically includes guided sightseeing, accommodations, internal transportation, and sometimes additional activities or outings during the holiday. It’s a convenient way to explore new places with a set itinerary and fellow travel companions!

When you travel with a group of people, you all leave your individual goals at home. It’s an unspoken agreement that you’re all in it together. As a result, new friendships can quickly develop, making it feel like you’ve known each other for years in just a few short weeks or months. You also form unexpected bonds with people you meet along the way, and you always have someone there to capture those important moments on camera. Group travel has a unique way of bringing people together through shared experiences, despite the inevitable challenges that may arise. Having a travel companion to lean on during tough times can make a big difference.

These benefits are also possible when traveling alone, if you’re fortunate enough to meet like-minded individuals during your journey. However, it’s important to consider both the positive and negative aspects of group travel, which I’ll outline below.

Advantages of Group Travel

There are several advantages of group travel versus going solo, which are listed below.

1) Saving Money

One of the main advantages of group travel is that it can be more cost-effective than traveling solo. Group tours offer lower prices for accommodation when travelers share a room. Additionally, group rates are available for specific modes of transportation such as car rentals and taxis, as well as for entry into attractions like amusement parks and museums. Organized groups also often receive perks like priority access and guided tours at attractions.

Group travel allows for cost savings in many other aspects, providing extra money to spend on additional experiences. Another benefit is the ability to cover longer distances quickly due to pre-arranged transportation. These advantages make group travel a compelling option compared to traveling solo.

“Oh, I so wish my Travelling trip could be more Costly,”

Said no-one, ever.
Pros and Cons of Group Tours - group of travellers looking happy outside a lime green and turquoise cabin

So why are organised tours cheaper? Group tours are more affordable due to a small economic principle known as “buying power.” Group travel companies have significant influence with arrangement and activity providers because they bring many travelers. This allows them to negotiate discounted rates that you would be unable to get on your own. The same applies to restaurants, tourist attractions, travel destinations, and more. Traveling with a group can lead to significant cost savings.

2) You create life-long friendships

Group travel allows you to form long-lasting friendships. You’ll meet fellow travelers with similar interests, providing an excellent opportunity to connect. The shared experiences when you travel in a group will strengthen and fulfill you. Everyone will have both good and challenging days, and it’s reassuring to have someone to talk to about them.

What better way to bond than with a few drinks in a hot springs

Living in the digital age can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, we can now book Great Summer holidays online or order food without having to rise off the couch, but on the other hand, we’re more remote than ever before. In fact, many countries have classified isolation as a severe public health problem.

So, while getting on a coach with a group of unknown people to go on an adventure can be out of your comfort-zone, it’s a great way to meet new people or travellers you would not necessarily encounter throughout your life. Who knows? You might go home with a bunch of new besties from across the world.

3) Tour Guide

With every organised group comes an experienced tour guide! Someone to deliver your experience safely, take heed of all the boring bits and ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible. Someone else having this responsibility is one of the advantages of group travel as it gives you valuable time to focus on the important parts, like yourself and having fun!

Pros and Cons of Group Tours - image of a group tour guide with a hand on his hip as the other points to a full moon against the dark sky
Our wonderful Tour Guide who helped us learn about the local culture, nature and history

A tour guide can really enhance your trip by providing insider knowledge and going the extra mile to make the experience unique. When you’re in an unfamiliar place, a trip guide can ensure your safety and security, as well as provide valuable information that you might otherwise miss. Additionally, during group travel, everything is well-organized with safety measures, and your guide can offer assistance if you ever feel lost or lonely. Overall, having a tour guide can make your journey more enjoyable and worry-free.

4) There is safety in numbers

The journey alone can be discouraging. Many people feel the pull of last-minute solo trips but don’t feel safe going on holiday alone.

If you’re single, or don’t have friends that share the same interests or ability to travel as you do then group travel is ideal. You simply book your spot, get in the car with a bunch of other travellers and enjoy the safety of numbers while you tour.

Have you ever caught that old saying? It’s especially true when travelling to unknown destinations. Every town, city or state in every country has problems, even small ones. When you Tour with a companion or within a group, you have someone to watch your back.

Do you remember when you were small, and your parents or teachers implemented the buddy system? There’s a reason for that, and it doesn’t only apply to children. The security of travelling as a group and looking out for each other is excellent for first-time travellers.

Disadvantages of Group Travel

While there are advantages of group travel, there are also disadvantages, which may make you think twice.

1) Less freedom

One of the disadvantages of group travel is that you’re on a compressed schedule at all times. The time you spend travelling on a group tour is mapped out from start to finish. It’s often a tight squeeze fitting in everything you’ve signed up for. It can be both a blessing and a curse, especially when you fall in love with a city and wish you had an extra day or two.

If you value personal privacy, group travel may not be for you. There could be a minimal chance of having time to yourself when you’re within a group travelling, especially if you’re sharing a room or staying in a hostel. The more of you there are, the more wants and desires to consider.

Pros and Cons of Group Tours - group discussing something while one person sits on the floor looking on

Who wins? Travelling in a group is a definite exercise in compromise and understanding. You can’t do everything you want to do all of the time. This reality can be hard to swallow when you have particular ideas in mind for your Destination trip’.

Thus, it can be helpful to start defining things as ‘our Destination trip’ rather than ‘my Destination trip’ and to know that even if it wasn’t your first choice, whatever you end up doing is likely to be a fantastic trip.

2) You may dislike someone in the group

In larger tour groups, it’s almost unavoidable there will be someone you don’t see eye to eye with at times. If this happens, it can make things difficult, uncomfortable, and unenjoyable. If you’re lucky, there can be another resolution: to stay or go, but being forced to make this choice is one of the disadvantages of group travel. Remember, if someone you’re travelling with negatively affects your trip, you could always make the call to go your separate ways. If this isn’t possible, then speak to your tour guide to see if they can help diffuse the situation.

Pros and Cons of Group Tours - Two travellers walk together through a very leafy jungle lodge

If possible, spend some time with your travel group before you start your trip. If you’re planning on travelling with many of your mates, take an extended vacation somewhere closer to home first. This experience will test the waters, expose any possible friction and clarify absolutely whether this is the best group to go with to your end travel destination.

However, you might be able to connect online in advance to get an idea of the kinds of people you’ll be with and who you might want to spend your time with. I cannot highlight the importance of getting on with the people you’re travelling with. If there’s anything you can do to ensure you’re the best match before you go, it won’t be wasted time.

3) Decisions get more complicated

One of the reasons to weigh up the pros and cons of group tours is that decisions can get complex. More travellers and more opinions equal more complicated accountability.
Make sure you make your beliefs and voice heard. All too often, someone with a big personality takes charge of the situation, and before you know it, a conclusion has been made for you. As important as it is to be a group player and make an agreement, sometimes you need to stick to your guns and, if needs be, do your own thing.

Pros and Cons of Group Tours - a group of travellers looking away from the camera towards a sign that advertises an extreme sport

4) Disagreements happen

Unfortunately one of the disadvantages of group travel is that disagreements are often unavoidable; You’re tired, and things get demanding. It’s a great experience, but you spend a lot of time together and this closeness is a perfect recipe for disagreement to happen.

Again, getting some personal space can be hugely helpful in protecting from disagreement! If they happen, try clearing the air as quickly as possible. There’s nothing worse than travelling with a group of people where the airspace feels tense and toxic.

Are Group Tours Worth It?

So, is it better to travel with a tour group? We’ve looked at the pros and cons of group tours to try and answer the question but the conclusion is a very personal one. Knowing how you operate is a helpful starting point for making the final call. So think about the disadvantages of group travel and the advantages of making the right choice and you’ll find the answer.

If you’d like to give one a try, then I recommend the following organised tour groups:

  • G Adventures – the photos in this post are from my experience travelling on the ‘Costa Rice Kayaking Tour” with this company; the group were fantastic and the tour guide was a legend. They have tours for all ages and some bespoke family options.
  • Contiki – This tour group is for 18-35’s

Check out my handy page with easy access to a huge selection of travel resources below:

Weighed up the Pros and Cons of Group Tours and now looking for inspiration?

If you’ve thought about the pros and cons of group tours and decided that the advantages of group travel outweigh the disadvantages, then look at the following destinations for inspiration.

Or if you’re leaning towards travelling solo, check out some of my posts below for inspiration:

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